Priorities in Innovating Governance and Public Administration in the Euro-Mediterranean Region
17/05/2004 The United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs (UNDESA), under the umbrella of the Innovmed project, has hosted, in conjunction with Formez – Training and Study Centre, an international consultative meeting on “Priorities in Innovating Governance and Public Administration in the Euro-Mediterranean Region” , from 17 to 20 May 2004, in the headquarters of Formez, Arco Felice, (Naples). The meeting linked with the work of Caimed (Centre for Administrative Innovation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region), created in 2002 by the United Nations and the Italian Government (Department of Public Administration). Forty experts and executives from the Euro-Mediterranean region presented and compared cases on the state of public administration in their own countries, within a scenario extending from the Mediterranean Basin to the adminstrative systems of the European countries. The aim of the conference was to compare the various experiences reform and innovation in the public administrations of each country, and at the same time to identify the emergent priorities at different levels of administration, (central, regional and sub-regional), - on the dominant themes in public administration. The conference witnessed the participation of representatives from Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, The Palestinian Authority, Serbia and Montenegro, Syria, Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia and Turkey. They had been invited to analyse innovation in public administration and in particular, the following points: governance, systems and institutions, leadership and human resources in the public sector, the distribution of public services, e-government, accountability and governmental transparency. The conference was opened by representatives from the organising institutions: Professor Carlo Lefebvre, Director General of Formez; Dr. Najet Karaborni, Undesa Senior Inter-Regional Adviser, Dr. Adriana Alberti, head of the InnovMed project of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management of Undesa; Dr. Giuseppe Pennella, Director of Caimed and Head of Research and Development for Formez; Professor Luigi Anzalone, Campania Region Department of Budget, Rates and Finance, State Assets and Property, Relations with Countries of the Mediterranean. Advocate Federico Basilica, Head of the Department of Public Administration opened the general concluding session of the meeting. All participants underlined their agreement that Caimed has become the institutional and operational site where diverse experiences can be brought together and exchanged, in order to move towards a modern public administration. In fact public administration reform is assuming an increasingly important role in the entire Mediterranean area as an instrument that avails of the exchange of experiences to determine the conditions for development of growth and well-being of the administration end-users. Dr. Giuseppe Pennella, Director of Caimed, stressed the fact that all the conference participants held appointments of high administrative responsibility and that the group gathered there presented a very high intellectual profile; he further pointed out the workshops had produced very fruitful results. In the course of presenting the achievements of the conference and future action plans stemming from it, the Director of Caimed gave notice of a newly created body, the Mediterranean Foundation, founded by Formez, on 6 May 2004. It is well known that cooperation between public administrations in European takes place on the basis of accords with little formal constitution. Avvocato Federico Basilica, Head of the Department of Public Administration, stressed that Caimed must look to this European model and transfer it to the Mediterranean area, basing its activity on suitably supported spontaneous cooperation. Caimed’s work, he added, dovetails with the cooperation actions of the Department of Public Administration, both in the EU initiatives of exchange of best practices and with the training schemes. One of Caimed’s activities, in fact is to transfer European best practices to countries of the Mediterranean, through the use of trained public administration innovation specialists who draw these new modalities together. The conference plenary sessions were accompanied by three sub-regional workshops, which yielded a series of priorities: 1. The fight against poverty and support for meeting the needs of the administration end-users 2. Institutional consolidation 3. Decentralization– competences and financial autonomy 4. Simplification and improvement of public services 5. Professional ethics (adoption of behaviour model) 6. Human resources – staff training 7. Anti-corruption programme (requires collaboration with the legal and preventative system) 8. Greater public participation 9. Improvement in the delivery of public services– greater focus on privatisation 10. Professional ethics and leadership (adoption of behaviour model) 11. Information technology 12. Transparency and accountability The participants agreed that on the basis of its two years of activity since its inception at the end of 2002, Caimed has become, for all the public administrations of the Mediterranean area, a point of reference on the themes of exchange of administrative knowledge and experience. The conference, with the support of the Secretariat General of the Presidency of the Republic, acting in the name of the Head of the Italian State, and of the Presidents of the Sicily and Campania Regional Governments, took place on the platform of prior international recognition earned during the Naples (Foreign Ministers of the forty five Euro-Mediterranean countries) and Palermo Conferences of 2003: both these merits have in fact ultimately brought Caimed to a position of importance at national and international levels. All the experts who attended the conference of 17 – 20 May see in the services provided by Caimed a valuable support for the reform programmes in the field of administrative innovation being carried out by all the public administrations of the Mediterranean. In the later workshops and in the concluding session, all participants present acknowledged the need for cooperation in the field of administrative innovation, beginning with the excellent results of the Innovmed project (financed by the MAE-Cooperation for Development, and executed by Undesa, particularly by its chief, Dr Alberti), and likewise recognising the role played by Caimed thus far. They furthermore asked that in the future, this synergy between Undesa, Department of Public Administration and Formez, making use of Caimed’s services, be conducted in an even more forcefully and expansively.